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Tech Talk: Using an External Speaker Cabinet With a Fender Excelsior Amp

 

 

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Among several cool features offered by the popular Excelsior amp is the optional use of an external speaker cabinet. For even greater tonal versatility from the retro-themed amp, guitarists can disconnect the Excelsior’s own 15” speaker and connect other cabinets with a variety of speaker configurations, such as 1×12”, 2×12” and even 4×12” (as long as it’s an 8-ohm cabinet rated at 13 watts or higher).

If you’re looking at the open back of your Excelsior, however, it’s not immediately apparent how this is accomplished.

Let’s back up a sec. On Fender combo amps such as the Twin Reverb, Hot Rod Deluxe and several others, the internal speaker connection is readily visible on the chassis. Since the connection is easily seen, it’s just as easy to unplug the cable from the internal speaker and plug in your external cabinet. There’s nothing to it, and it takes about two seconds.

Rear-view of an Excelsior. See the smaller transformer and the tube cage in the lower right corner? ...
Rear-view of an Excelsior. See the smaller transformer and the tube cage in the lower right corner? …

The Excelsior does have an internal speaker output jack and cable, but that’s where things get a little tricky, because they’re not clearly visible when looking at the amp’s open back. Compounding this is the fact that the Excelsior is the only modern Fender amp with not one but two chassis—an upper one and a lower one. While the owner’s manual does mention that an external cabinet can be used, it doesn’t note the location of the internal speaker output jack and cable (the tube chart, however, does).

You want the lower chassis. The Excelsior’s internal speaker output jack is on the top of the lower chassis, hidden from clear view near the lower back corner of the tube cage, just behind the smaller of the two transformers. It’s recommended that you turn the amp’s power off before you go hunting.

You kind of have to feel around for it back there, but make no mistake—the internal speaker output jack is absolutely and unequivocally there. Once you’ve found it, simply unplug the Excelsior’s speaker and plug in the cable leading to the external cabinet.

 

... the speaker jack (circled) is right there behind the transformer, near the corner of the tube cage.
… In this top view, the speaker jack (circled) is right there behind the transformer, near the corner of the tube cage.

Related Links:
California Speaker Cables

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